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Die bulgarische Marine erhält zwei Patrouillenboote aus dem Lürssen-Portfolio. Am 12. November unterschrieb der bulgarische Verteidigungsminister Krassimir Karakachanov einen entsprechenden Vertrag mit der Bremer Fr. Lürssen Gruppe. “Heute ist ein wichtiger Tag für die Marine. Mit diesem Projekt haben wir nach der Unterzeichnung des Vertrags für das neue Jagdflugzeug den zweiten Schritt zur Modernisierung der bulgarischen Armee getan. Ich hoffe es ist nicht der letzte.“, sagte Karakachanov bei der Unterzeichnung des Vertrags.

He is referring to Bulgaria's armed forces modernization program. In 2019, Sofia ordered eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, six single-seat fighter jets and two two-seat aircraft. The contract also includes the training of the aircraft crews and the armament. According to the national plan from 2017, Bulgaria wants to meet NATO's decision to spend two percent of its gross domestic product on defense by 2024. In 2020 the share will be 1.93 percent, in 2015 the country was 1.25 percent (data: NATO, October 2020).

The sparse information from the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense shows that the “multipurpose modular patrol vessels” (MMPV) mentioned in the Bulgarian communiqué could be a derivative of the Lürssen Offshore Patrol Vessel 90. No response was received from Bremen. In its website, Lürssen-Defense describes its Offshore Patrol Vessel 90 as a helicopter-compatible surface unit with a displacement of 2,100 tons, which is 90 meters long and 14 meters wide. The possible armament variants are: Artillery: 76 mm or 57 mm, plus two 20 mm guns, anti-ship missiles, four MM40 Exocet or four RBS 15 or four NSM. VLS MK56 or RAM can be installed for air defense.

The boats are to be built by the Bulgarian MGT Dolphin shipyard in Varna and delivered in 2025 and 2026. The price of 984 million leva (approx. 503 million euros) should also include the training.

This is an important conclusion for the German shipyard group. The Damen, Fincantieri and Naval Group shipyards are competing for naval shipbuilding orders on the Black Sea. Damen and Fincantieri have local offices in Romania. Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania, according to the company, has built more than 40 ships for defense or other sovereign tasks.

The market is hotly contested. On November 12th, PNS “Tabuk”, a corvette from the Offshore Patrol Verssel series, was handed over to the Pakistani Navy by Damen.

Hans Uwe Mergener